Why should you be using FreeBSD?

David Chisnall, a FreeBSD developer, asked on the FreeBSD mailing list why people are using FreeBSD: Why Are You Using FreeBSD?

You may have guessed, but there are many, different reasons.  The following are some reasons why FreeBSD is still alive and FreeBSD users don’t have a need to migrate to Linux:

  • The FreeBSD community focuses more on the technology than on licensing and ‘evangelism’
  • FreeBSD is Stable. Simple!
  • Well-structured, complete operating system (i.e. filesystem, kernel and its config, etc)
  • The ports system; it’s stable and mostly up-to-date
  • FreeBSD known for its ability to handle heavy network traffic with high performance and rock solid reliability
  • FreeBSD is the system of choice for high performance network
  • A kick-ass combo of features and very server-focused.
  • FreeBSD is NOT Linux = FreeBSD is stable, reliable, simple
  • FreeBSD is not as fragmented as Linux
  • The one community. There’s one community, always willing to help out.
  • The BSD license. Contrary to popular belief, it has brought a lot of high quality development to FreeBSD
  • Universal toolkit. FreeBSD scales easily from the thinnest embedded system, to various desktops to huge servers — all with the same familiar tools and environment.

These and other reasons can now be found on the Why Use FreeBSD wiki page.

Obviously, since we all have different likings and requirements, FreeBSD won’t be of use to all. Based on feedback from the mailinglist Phoronix also summarised the reasons why not to use FreeBSD.

Thanks to Charles Rapenne for reminding me to post this.

FreeBSD Security Advisory (Crypt)

The FreeBSD Security Team has identified an issue in crypt and has issued the following security advisory: FreeBSD-SA-12:02.crypt (30/05/2012).

I. Background

The crypt(3) function performs password hashing with additional code added to deter key search attempts.

II. Problem Description

There is a programming error in the DES implementation used in crypt() when handling input which contains characters that can not be represented with 7-bit ASCII.

III. Impact

When the input contains characters with only the most significant bit set (0×80), that character and all characters after it will be ignored.

For a workaround and solution, check out the security advisory: FreeBSD-SA-12:02.crypt

PC-BSD 9-STABLE snapshot available for testing (20120524)

Kris Moore has announced the availability of the next PC-BSD testing snapshot: PC-BSD 9-STABLE-20120524. This snapshot is available for both the i386and amd64 architectures.

Some changes since the previous snapshot:

  • Based on FreeBSD 9-STABLE from 05-20-2012.
  • Add support to Warden for using ZFS snapshots on jails. Now you may create, remove, and rollback previous snapshots of a jail via the command-line and GUI.
  • New bottom panel and features in the AppCafe for installed applications.
  • Updated the pc-thinclient command.
  • Added some safety checks to ZFS installs.
  • New “About” GUI, displays information about system.
  • Added initial support for enabling 8021X authentication, still a work in progress.
  • Added LDAP/AD support to installed Samba packages.

Highlights for the upcoming 9.1:

  • New system installer is greatly simplified for desktop and server installs.
  • New PC-BSD Server installation option. Includes command-line utilities like pbi-manager, warden, metapkgmanager and more.
  • Support for ZFS mirror / raidz(1,2,3) during installation.
  • Support for SWAP on ZFS, allowing entire disk ZFS installation.
  • Support for setting additional ZFS data-set options, such as compression, noexec, etc.
  • Warden jail management integrated into system. Allows creating jails via GUI, adding packages and other administration.
  • First boot setup wizard allows OEM installs to be easily performed.
  • New Bluetooth pairing tray / GUI utilities.
  • New AppCafe improvements and preferences
  • Improvements to wifi utility.
  • Fixed bug causing untranslated strings to show up empty.
  • Numerous bug-fixes to PC-BSD related utilities.
  • Support for creating PXE boot server for remote desktop and installation.

Remember this snapshot is recommended for testing purposes only. Should you come across any issues, please share them with the team on the PC-BSD Testing Mailinglist.

Download the PC-BSD 9-STABLE-20120524 Snapshot

 

FreeBSD Security Advisory (OpenSSL)

The FreeBSD Security Team has identified a security issue in openssl.

I. Background

FreeBSD includes software from the OpenSSL Project. The OpenSSL Project is a collaborative effort to develop a robust, commercial-grade, full-featured Open Source toolkit implementing the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL v2/v3) and Transport Layer Security (TLS v1) protocols as well as a full-strength general purpose cryptography library.

II. Problem Description

OpenSSL failes to clear the bytes used as block cipher padding in SSL 3.0 records when operating as a client or a server that accept SSL 3.0 handshakes. As a result, in each record, up to 15 bytes of uninitialized memory may be sent, encrypted, to the SSL peer. This could include sensitive contents of previously freed memory.

OpenSSL support for handshake restarts for server gated cryptograpy (SGC) can be used in a denial-of-service attack.

To find out more about the impact, a work-around and solution, check out the advisory page:FreeBSD Security Advisory (openssl)

FreeBSD upcoming events updates (MeetBSD, EuroBSDCon, GSoC)

MeetBSD California 2012

meetBSD 2012 will be held on Yahoo!’s campus in Sunnyvale, California, from 3 – 4 November 2012 and will be co-hosted by Yahoo! and iXsystems.

MeetBSD California is no normal conference – it’s a meeting of the minds from all over the BSD community. MeetBSD California 2012 will feature community-scheduled break-out sessions, discussions groups, and 5-10 minute “lightning talks,” as well as longer talks from seasoned BSD experts. 

MeetBSD California 2012 aims to engage the best of both worlds between traditional planned-speaker-centered conferences and the community-planned unConference model. Day one will be devoted primarily to planned talks, while day two will be scheduled entirely by the attendees, allowing anything from impromptu tutorials to hacking sessions. This is your conference, and we can’t wait to see you there!

EuroBSDCon 2012

BSDTalk has uploaded a 14 minutes interview with Paul Schenkeveld about the upcoming EuroBSDCon 2012 (Warsaw, Poland, 18-21 October): bsdtalk213 – EuroBSDCon with Paul Schenkeveld

GSoC 2012

Not strictly upcoming, but ongoing: Google’s annual Summer of  Code (2012) has kicked off. FreeBSD is represented by 15 projects.

Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers post-secondary student developers ages 18 and older stipends to write code for various open source software projects. We have worked with open source, free software, and technology-related groups to identify and fund projects over a three month period.